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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gudhafi Remaining Defiant

Colonel Gudhafi

Over the course of the break in updates the world watched in amazement as rovolts began all across North Africa and the Middle East.  However, none as yet seem to have gone on as long or are as bloody as the continuing conflict in the North African nation of Libya.

No doubt spurred on by there neighbours the uprisings against Gudhafi began on the 11th of February 2011. Gudhafi responded with armed violence to these protests and made it known he had no intention of leaving power. Rebels moved eastward to the coastal city of Benghazi from where they were able to establish an coalition Government known as the Transitional National Council. In early March Gudhafi's forces began to rally to the East and have since reclaimed the rebel stronghlold of Benghazi and numerous other major cities along this coast. The final remaining stronghold of Misratah is currently undergoing an intense offensive by Gudhafi's troops. The situation is now subject to an international response.
At the beginning of the conflict the UN passed a resolution freezing the assets of  Gudhafi and ten of his inner circle. This resolution also referred the crimes of Gudhafi to the International Criminal Court. A further resolution enforced a no-fly zone over Libya. Gudhafi's response was to enforce a ceasefire in the conflict which he failed to adhere to. The French were the first group to actually intervene in the conflict. They sent 19 fighter planes over to Benghazi on the 19th of March. They were joined later that same day by British and American forces.  American forces have since ended their involvement in the country and control of the no-fly zone has been handed to NATO.

As of today fighting continues across the state with reports of cluster bombs (which are illegal in a large number of states) being used on civilian targets by Gudhafi forces in Misrata. The humanitarian situation is worsening on the ground in Libya also. By March 3rd 200,000 Libyan rebels had fled across the border to Tunisia and Egypt, countries undergoing their own personal turmoil.  While food supplies are not yet at critical level the main issue appears to be the availability of proper medical supplies to cater for the large numbers injured in the conflict . In Misrata however, water has been cut off to the city by Gudhafi's forces and sweage pipes have intentionally been re-routed into water supplies.

This conflict shows no sign of an imminent end however, it is difficult to see who long the rebel forces will be able to hold out for, even with the majority backing of international forces. The total death toll has not yet been released but it is estimated somewhere between 2000 and 8000 by various sources. We are unlikely to ascertain a clear picture of the full total any time soon owing to the clamdown on the media by the Gudhafi regime.  It is clear however, for all concerned that an end o this gruelling civil war cannot come quickly enough.

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